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Strong Finish Earns Farney Victory

May 28th, 2012

Ulster GAA Football Championship Quarter-Final:
Monaghan 1-12 Antrim 1-9

Monaghan produced a strong finish in Clones, hitting seven of the last eight points to record a three-point win over Antrim in their Ulster GAA Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday.

The Farney men led 1-4 to 0-5 at half-time, with Karl O’Connell’s early goal helping them take control. However, Antrim came back strongly early on in the second half and scored a goal of their own through James Loughrey to turn things around.

The win looked like it would be Antrim’s when they went 1-8 to 1-5 ahead midway through the second half, but Monaghan responded well, and inspired by a brace of fine points from substitute Tommy Freeman, they moved in front.

Their greater experience told in the final few minutes as their big names steered them clear, and into a semi-final clash with either Down or Fermanagh.

O’Connell’s goal after just a few seconds proved crucial, as in the end it was what ultimately separated the sides. It came when he finished off a rebound after his initial shot had been saved by Antrim goalkeeper Chris Kerr.

Antrim’s Paddy Cunningham hit two frees either side of one from Monaghan’s Paul Finlay to leave two in it, but then Finlay went off injured after 20 minutes, and was replaced by Kieran Hughes.

Eoin Lennon, who started for Monaghan despite not being named in the team, then made it 1-2 to 0-2 but points from Antrim’s Michael McCann and Michael McGill left the minimum between them after half an hour.

Two left-footed frees from Finlay’s replacement Hughes put a goal between them with half-time looming, but Cunningham completed the scoring for the half to leave the gap at two at the break.

When Dick Clerkin made it 1-5 to 0-5 just after the resumption, Monaghan looked to be in control, but their lead evaporated very quickly when Antrim broke through for a superb goal.

Loughrey raced in from the left wing and fired to the net to level things up, and when influential midfielder Aodhan Gallagher sailed over a point shortly afterwards, Antrim led for the first time with 15 minutes gone in the second half.

McCann and Mark McAleese then extended the gap to three with fine efforts, but a Conor McManus point for Monaghan was followed by scores from Freeman and Clerkin, and it was all square again.

It had been a very even contest to that point, but the introduction of Freeman had clearly fired up Eamonn McEneaney’s side, and another superb effort from play from the 2007 All Star put Monaghan ahead.

Antrim were still fighting though, and Cunningham’s fourth of the day brought the sides level again with less than 10 minutes to play. This was when Monaghan’s extra gear kicked in though, and they knocked over the final three points to grab the win.

A blockbuster from Dessie Mone after 67 minutes put them in front, and that effort was followed by points from Peter Dooney and McManus, as Monaghan delivered in front of the Clones fans.

Ulster Minor Football Championship Quarter Final:
Monaghan 2-10 Antrim 1-2

In the curtain raiser at Clones, Monaghan powered to victory over Antrim with a superb second half performance. Conor McCarthy and David McAllister scored first half goals for the hosts which formed the platform for the win.

Ulster Minor Football Championship Quarter Final:
Derry 2-9 Donegal 1-7

In Omagh, Derry were guided to victory thanks to two Terence O’Brien goals. O’Brien found the net in the second minute before adding another in the second half to seal the victory for the Oak Leaf men.

Monaghan v Antrim Ulster SFC Gallery